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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Weekly Food Notes: Toast, Ice Cream + More

Posted By on Wed, Sep 13, 2017 at 1:24 PM

https://www.styleweekly.com/ShortOrderBlog/archives/2017/09/12/bike-restaurant-week-launches They're bringing the deliciousness across the river: Toast owners Josh and Jessica Bufford unlocked the doors at the second location of Toast in Powhatan County’s Winterfield Place shopping center.

According to Richmond BizSense, Gelati Celesti is opening a much bigger production plant —four times larger — to keep up with the ice-cream demand. It also is considering Virginia Beach. Next up: the world.

Pumpkin spice beer is highly divisive, and this Virginia brewery wants you to bring in a bottle so they can pour it down the drain.

Although it’s no longer breaking news, it is happy news. The old Village Cafe spot will be renovated to accommodate Charlottesville-based Roots Natural Kitchen, described as, inevitably, fast-casual and serving natural food. You can get your grain bowl on in February.

We were promised a restaurant and it looks like we’re going to get it — next year. Stone Brewing is about to start renovating Intermediate Terminal site nearby for the four-floor spot, Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens, to open later next year. And that’s still about a year ahead of schedule for the brewery.

Shore Dog Cafe has a new chef, Tommy Levitt, formerly of Richmond Restaurant Group. Along with consulting chef Michael Grayson, the menu is undergoing an expansion to include new dishes and seafood options.

Chef and owner of Butler’s Unique Catering, Todd Butler, has opened a brand spanking new Olio at 2028 W. Cary St., reports the Times-Dispatch. Butler bought the naming rights from original owner Jason Savedoff last year.

Bike Walk RVA is about to launch its first restaurant week. It will be held Sept. 17-21 and will feature plenty of restaurants, deals and discounts and even bike tours to get you to your destination.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Bike Restaurant Week Launches

Roll on over to your favorite restaurant.

Posted By on Tue, Sep 12, 2017 at 1:43 PM

It’s an opportunity for zero-sum eating: Bike Walk RVA is throwing its first restaurant week from Sept. 17-21. Restaurants that have signed on will offer discounts or promotions to customers who ride over, instead of driving over. And if you’d like a little guidance, Bike Walk RVA will lead cycling tours each night to get you more comfortable with Richmond’s bike-friendly developments.

“There is nothing quite like a casual evening ride with friends or family to your favorite local restaurant or exploring a new neighborhood on two wheels to try a new place to eat,” said Brantley Tyndall, community engagement manager for Bike Walk RVA in a news release.

There are a whole bunch of restaurants participating —  the Roosevelt, Casa del Barco, Stir Crazy, Lunch/Supper, even Ellwood Thompson’s Local Market. Here’s a link to the list so you can check out the ones in your neighborhood.

Or, hey — crazy thought: Why don’t you cycle on over to another neighborhood to try something different or to burn off a few extra calories? You may even be able to borrow a bike with the new RVA Bike Share program.

“On a bike,” says Zach Archibald, owner of another participating spot, Lamplighter Roasting Co., “you put yourself ‘in charm’s way’ when it comes to the highlights of city life.”

Friday, September 8, 2017

Fan Noodle Bar Will Transform into Pik Nik on Sept. 17

Posted By on Fri, Sep 8, 2017 at 1:58 PM

Rival noodle shops. Rival brothers? Not really.

Sonny Kiatsuranon and his brother, Joe, grew up working at their family’s restaurant, Mom’s Siam. Later, Sonny left to start Fan Noodle Bar, while Joe opened My Noodle & Bar, which is also in the Fan. Confused? The Kiatsuranons were concerned about that.

“A lot of people found it confusing,” Joe says. “[They’d ask], ‘Why aren’t you joined together?’ We want to make it one place so that people don’t get lost.”

Actually, the brothers are creating two places that will be very different from one another. Fan Noodle Bar will merge with and move to My Noodle & Bar’s location via its menu, where you’ll find its dishes dotted throughout. For the space at 2301 W. Main St., the Kiatsuranons are trying something new.

Pik Nik will offer affordable, contemporary American food, says Alex Bailey, the bearded chef who’s done stints at Max’s on Broad, Patina Restaurant & Grill and lately, Shore Dog Cafe. “It’s going to be very eclectic. You’ll see a nice mix. … It’s not going to be your traditional Richmond restaurant concentrating on a certain genre.”

The interior design will be another dramatic departure from the former Fan Noodle. “People know my food,” says Joe. “I want them to see what else I can do.” The design, he says, is in his head. And he’s meticulously planned each day until opening on Sept. 17 — three days to put up a wall, three days to finish the patio and so on until he’s done.

The Kiatsuranons, Bailey and general manager Rob Smith took a trip to New York for some inspiration and to refine the concept. “What are you going to think about when you take a girl on a date?” he says. “We thought about a picnic in a park. We wanted to bring it into a restaurant.”

When I stopped by, a rustic wooden wall was going up inside and above it, the tin ceiling had been painted sky blue. Joe plans to have clouds painted across it, to underscore the outdoor, picnic vibe he’s looking for. Murals by artist Mickael Broth will finish the inside.

The front windows will roll up on nice days and a small bar — just inside the restaurant — will serve the patio. “We want it to feel like an old farm or park,” Joe says. He’s designed small picniclike tables made of distressed metal and dark wood that are surrounded by a shiny, corrugated steel wall and cross-hatched fencing.

After opening, Pik Nik will be in the hands of Smith and Bailey. Older brother Sonny says, “I cannot do it all.” Joe concurs. The younger brother also is co-owner of Sabai and YaYa’s Cookbook in the West End.

“[We’ve] always done Asian food,” he says about Pik Nik. “I wanted to do something different.”

Correction: Joe Kiatsuranon and his partner Brandon Pearson are not planning to open a second Sabai at this time. We regret the error.


Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Weekly Food Notes: Doughnuts, Bagels + More

Posted By on Wed, Sep 6, 2017 at 4:22 PM

Sugar Shack is opening its 12th — yes, its 12th location — this time in Washington. And the sweet takeover of our mouths and minds continues.

Mike Ledesma is a busy, busy man. Aftr leaving Richmond Restaurant Group, he revamped the menu at hot spot Kabana Rooftop. This week he announced that he’s speeding down the tracks to the opening of his very own restaurant which will be located in another hot spot, Scott’s Addition.

Bagels kept my children alive when they were younger, and I have a keen appreciation for their subtleties. Nate Mathews trained in New York and makes some of the best in town. Now they’ll reach a wider audience later this year. Mathews plans to open Nate’s Bagels, with a seating capacity of 12, at 19 S. Allen Ave., reports Richmond BizSense.

South Side quailed when Martin’s closed in the Shops at Stratford Hills. Suddenly, the convenient way to pick up an onion or a can of tomato paste vanished. That may change soon — although it hasn’t been confirmed exactly. The Times-Dispatch does confirm that Publix has bought the property. “At this time, we can confirm the purchase of the real estate. However, we are currently in the due diligence process and are evaluating our next steps. When additional information becomes available, we’ll be happy to follow up,” Publix spokeswoman Kimberly Reynolds said in an email to the paper.

Vagabond, the ever-changing restaurant by the National, has a whole new bag on its bindle. Mama J’s Kitchen’s Lester Johnson and folks from the Jake Crocker-owned Lady N’awlins Cajun Cafe and F.W. Sullivan's have taken over and revamped its menu, Richmond magazine reports. You can expect Mama J’s killer soul food from its former kitchen manager-turned-chef Katrina Mazyck.

The man behind Luncheonette and Luncheonette Northside, Brad Barzoloski, has just upped the ante. Capitol Waffle Shop, his latest venture, is open at 1110 E. Main St., reports the Times-Dispatch. “The concept is simple,” Barzoloski told the paper. “We put a whole bunch of crazy toppings on waffles.

Correction: Publix bought the Martin's property in the Shops at Stratford Hills, not the Stratford Hills Shopping Center as originally cited.



Sugar Shack Adds Another Location

This one is in Washington.

Posted By on Wed, Sep 6, 2017 at 11:47 AM

Like a sweet, sweet balloon, Sugar Shack Donuts keeps expanding. And I doubt you’ll find many complaints. The latest shop unlocked its doors in Washington at 1932 Ninth St. N.W.

This makes a whopping 12 opportunities from Florida on north to take a bite of sometimes unexpected and surprising flavors. Pineapple jalapeño, anyone? And to lure you in — because doughnuts are so easy to resist — Sugar Shack is also offering 30 percent off on its coffee during on weekdays in September between 11 a.m.-3 p.m. at its Richmond locations.

Curious about what goes on behind the scenes at Sugar Shack? This story from April delves deep into its fryers.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

A New Restaurant From Mike Ledesma Is Opening in the Joy Garden Space

Posted By on Tue, Sep 5, 2017 at 11:55 AM

Let’s go to the default in the restaurant industry — constant change. Unrelenting, never-ending change. And that’s a good thing for Richmond diners.

People mourned when Joy Garden at 2918 W Broad St. closed last year. A fixture for 60 years, it was impossible to imagine the landscape without it. But it’s time swallow your residual sorrow — Mike Ledesma announced today that he’ll be opening a new restaurant in that much-loved space in Scott’s Addition. The chef has worked in a lot of cities, including Oahu, Hawaii, and says those places will influence the menu he plans, along with dishes he learned from his Filipino family.

Most recently, Ledesma was the executive chef for Richmond Restaurant Group and then revamped the menu at Kabana Rooftop. He plans to remain its executive chef.

“When you open a restaurant, you get to take full ownership of the menu and the path it’s going to take,” Ledesma said in a news release. “I like to have the ability to push culinary trends. When I play with food, I want it to be creative.”


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

A New Name and a Bunch of Burritos for 11 Months

The transformed spot opens on Friday.

Posted By on Wed, Aug 30, 2017 at 5:14 PM

It hasn’t been 11 months, but owners Hamooda Shami and Nate Gutierrez closed the doors of their experimental restaurant named, aptly enough, 11 Months, on Sunday, Aug. 27.

“I think the concept of 11 Months was a little confusing for some people,” Gutierrez says. The original idea was to open a restaurant and in just under a year, shut it down, retool the interior, change the menu and launch an entirely new restaurant. When the place opened, Shami told Style, “[One] major shift we've made is to make eleven months the maximum time frame. This will allow us a ton of flexibility on the style of pop-ups we can use in the space, with some lending themselves to shorter time frames.”

Therefore, on Friday, Sept. 1, Best Friends Forever — the name doubles down on 11 Months’ original theme — will kick off at 2915 W. Cary St. with a menu full of burritos made with the flair that made Gutierrez’s Nate’s Taco Truck and Don’t Look Back a few doors down on Cary Street famous.

“A lot of people miss Don’t Look Back,” Gutierrez says. “And we still don’t know when we’ll open or where yet.” This new place will hopefully satisfy the longing for the taco spot that burned earlier this year.

But don’t expect the burritos at Best Friends Forever to be swaddled versions of Gutierrez’s tacos. He’s working with co-chef Justin Cropper, and they’ve come up with a flavor profile that has the same zing of New Mexico chilies, but isn’t a carbon copy of what diners came to expect at Don’t Look Back.

One thing I’m ready to try: a Frito pie burrito. Yeah, baby.

The interior has been toned down from the brights of 11 Months to darker shades. Gone are the picnic tables and big communal table. They’ve been replaced with smaller two-tops that can be endlessly reconfigured. It’s a different vibe. And although the menu may resemble Don’t Look Back’s structurally, Gutierrez promises surprises.

“We’re keeping the menu pretty short and simple,” Gutierrez says, “so we can do some really cool stuff with the specials.”

Monday, August 28, 2017

Fire at Branch & Vine

Everyone is OK.

Posted By on Mon, Aug 28, 2017 at 4:21 PM

UPDATE: Branch & Vine is now open again. The latest restaurant fire (and isn't it awful to have to say that?) broke out last night at Branch & Vine, the former Olio, at 2001 1/2 W. Main St. According to owner Matt Fraker, it was a small kitchen fire. "Everyone is safe, thanks to quick action from our staff and local fire department," he posted on Facebook. The spot is closed for repairs. "[We] hope to reopen SOON!" he said in an email.

Fraker and partner Jason Ferrell took over the gourmet takeout and eat-in restaurant from original owner Jason Savedoff in 2015 and changed the name, renovated the interior and revamped the menu earlier this year.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Shellfish Caution

Vibrio is back in the news. Here's what you need to know.

Posted By on Fri, Jul 28, 2017 at 11:09 AM

UPDATE: Vibrio vulnificus, a potentially dangerous bacterium, is always lurking in Virginia waterways, but dramatic cases bring it back into news. An Essex County woman may lose her finger after swimming in the Rappahannock River last weekend, the Times-Dispatch reports.

In 2015, the last time vibrio was suddenly on everyone's mind when a Mechanicsville man died after contracting it, I wrote an explainer that is, unfortunately, timely once again.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015: Charlie Horner, a Mechanicville grandfather and veteran, died from a puncture wound he received while fishing in the Rappahannock River late last month. After his death, Vibrio vulnificus suddenly was in the news, often characterized as flesh-eating bacteria. That’s true, but it isn’t the whole story.

Vibrio more commonly is known as a warm-water-loving bacterium, which can infect unsuspecting diners who eat raw shellfish. And a lot of us like our shellfish — particularly oysters — raw.

You often hear that you should eat oysters only in months that contain the letter R. That’s because summer water temperatures are ideal for the bacteria to grow. Nevertheless, whether we like it or not, there’s a low level of Vibrio in the Chesapeake Bay and Virginia rivers throughout the year. That doesn’t mean it’s dangerous — although for the elderly, people with liver disease and the immune-compromised, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise avoiding raw shellfish.

There were only 11 cases in the state confirmed last year. So far, there have been 17 this year. And Virginia has tough regulations on the books for harvesting shellfish.

During the summer months, for example, oysters must be harvested and back at the dock by 10 a.m. and put into refrigeration. While the boat is out, all oysters must be shaded.

In June, boats have only three hours to go out to harvest, and during July and August, that time is reduced to two hours. If you want to bring in oysters later in the day, you must put a Virginia Marine Resources Commission-approved GPS tracking device on your boat to make sure you get back within the time limit. Any other transportation after the oysters leave the facility also must be refrigerated.

“[The] industry has invested hundreds of millions of dollars on ice makers, refrigerated trucks, shade, coolers,” says Robert Rheault, president of the East Coast Shellfish Grower’s Association, “and almost every state has been forced to tighten post-harvest refrigeration regulations.”

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Weekly Food Notes: Grocery Delivery, Coffee, Ice Cream + More

Posted By on Wed, Jul 12, 2017 at 12:21 PM

Why are Richmond restaurants burning down? A devastating fire broke out at the 40-year-old Tobacco Company Restaurant this weekend and management says that it will be closed indefinitely. It follows a blaze July 1 at Carytown taco spot Don’t Look Back, which will take six months to repair, according to owner Hami Shamooda. Last year, both Bev’s Homemade Ice Cream and Rappahannock suffered fires, but are back in business.

Amazon hasn’t ramped up its Prime Now pantry delivery service since the deal to acquire Whole Foods was announced, but it looks like another delivery company has taken notice. Instacart has moved into the counties surrounding Richmond, reports the Times-Dispatch. Right now, however, there’s somewhat
spotty service in the city. Some lucky folks, though, can order from Wegmans, Whole Foods Market, Costco, Petco and CVS. Service for Publix starts this weekend. Here are the zip codes with delivery service: 23146, 23059, 23060, 23228, 23294, 23233, 23103, 23238, 23229, 23226, 23230, 23173, 23221, 23219, 23225, 23235, 23113, 23114, 23236, 23112, 23832. instacart.com.

Brenner Pass, Metzger Bar & Butchery’s the Swizz-inflected sibling located in Scott’s Addition, will soon have company. Richmond BizSense reports that the owners plan to open Chair Lift, a coffee shop serving sandwiches and baked goods, in August. brennerpassrva.com.

And coffee shop Cafe Zata is planning to open a second location in Manchester at 700 Bainbridge St. in August, Richmond BizSense also reports, which — be still my heart — is within walking distance of Style’s offices. There will be a patio, sandwiches, hamburgers, hot dogs, doughnuts based on recipes from Dixie Donuts and Gelati Celesti ice cream. cafezata.com.

A self-described dessert cafe will soon open the doors of 306 E. Grace St., the old Monumental Coffee space. Mason and Ajin Gray will open Monchou, reports the Times-Dispatch, and will focus on French pastries and coffee. instagram.com/monchourva.

Two other spots, sadly, bite the dust. The Jerk Pit, at 2713 W. Broad St., is no longer in operation. Sabai and Ya-Ya’s Cookbook’s Joe Kiatsuranon plans to open a restaurant in the space, reports Richmond magazine. And Vietnamese restaurant Royal Restaurant in Gold’s Gym Plaza closed on Monday, July 3.







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